Edition: 07-10-2013
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Senator Scott visits Bamberg County

Mallory D. Biering, Staff Reporter

Senator Tim Scott made a visit to Bamberg County on Tuesday, July 2nd, to speak with the leaders of the community on the topic of public service. Senator Scott stated, "One of the pleasures of public service is to do good when you possibly can," which is why he is visiting the counties throughout South Carolina. "We are here to learn more about the communities we serve--where you represent you should serve," said Senator Scott while answering questions about local, national and global politics.

However, Senator Scott was sure to keep the conversation rooted in the local area after answering questions concerning the problems with Egypt. His opinions about the school system were shut down through a bill he was trying to pass, which would, "promote more local control over public education." However the bill was pushed out with a 10 to 12 vote.

Having been involved with public education himself, on the failing and achieving side, Scott feels his, "philosophy is that the system should be designed for the student," adding that Washington tries, "to nationalize our education agenda and we take more resources away from local schools, local decisions and parents, teachers and school districts. I think it's a poor approach. We fight for flexibility in the education process. What you'll see form our office is more the same," by fighting for teachers and parents to make more decisions for the students- -the people who know the students the best.

"Looking at life as an opportunity to do well," is one of Senator Scott's goals as he learns the fast and furious ride of being a senator. He shared, "My mother taught me the importance of making a difference," and making a difference is what he wants to help community leaders do.

Senator Scott had over 14 years experience serving in local government before his political career grew to what it is today, and he understands what public service means. "We dedicate our lives to public service," he said adding, "If we can help you with your vision of building a better community," to let him know. He explained if he says he won't or can't do something, then that's what he means, but if he says he will try, then he will definitely do his best to make something happen.

His goal for community leaders is a simple one. "My goal is to be in a position to be helpful and to be available. For the mayors and administrators, to meet my objective is a simple one, call me and give me an opportunity to do good where I can. I'm just a kid from North Charleston trying to do good for a state that has given me an opportunity to be in the position I am today."

For more information or to keep up with Senator Scott, visit his website: http://www.scott.senate.gov/.

BSD1 FY 2013-2014 Budget passed without increasing operating millage

Mallory D. Biering, Staff Reporter

The Bamberg School District One (BSD1) FY 2013- 2014 budget was passed without increasing operating millage at the Monday, June 17 board of trustees meeting. Without having a budget sent from the state to give definite numbers, the board decided it was better to withdraw $197,279.36, from the fund balance, which would keep the school from having to increase the operating millage, in order to balance the budget for the FY 2013-2014. The total budget for the upcoming fiscal year totals to $14,107,727.35, leaving $3 million in the fund balance.

In other discussions of financial business, Devon Furr Financial Director of BSD1, stated the following areas were overspent: equipment, technology equipment, property insurance, temporary salaries, supplies, school level instruction, legal fees, energy and advertising.

Furr also mentioned the district is working on the bids for the pavement where the buses will be parked at Richard Carroll Elementary School. Once Furr receives more information on what exactly needs to be done, she plans to work on the Request for Proposals and have them sent out for bids.

A question concerning the use of the old Richard Carroll Primary School was brought before the board. Phyllis Schwarting, Superintendent of BSD1, stated anyone would be allowed to use the gym, but according to the legal advice they were given, it would be best to sell the facility, to keep the district from being involved in any liability concerning the mold and mildew problems in the school.

Furr did note the power to the schools would be shut off completely, now that everything has been emptied from both the primary and elementary schools.

Board members discussed with Schwarting looking into an attendance plan for certain teachers throughout the district. Apparently, a few teachers have problems with consistently being out, without a doctor's note, which is only needed for three or more days out of work. Schwarting mentioned maybe putting those teachers on an attendance plan.

During the walk through of RCES, Schwarting and others worked with the contractors to make a list of possible problems that would need to be corrected before the one year warranty ended on the new school. Schwarting noted they are weeks ahead of their deadline, and Principal Skipper Smith would be working to make sure the changes were made. Overall, Schwarting said, "All in all, we were pleased with how the walk through went." Of the problems found, none of them were major, structural or mechanical. The high school and middle school walk through will occur in the near future.

During the student and staff report from Schwarting, she stated the seniors of Bamberg- Ehrhardt High School received $3.1 million in scholarship money, which is the most the district has ever had at one time.

The seniors were mentioned again for their results from the WorkKeys test, which is the ACT standardized test for evaluating skills in the work place. "According to the results received from ACT, 93% of the BEHS Class of 2013 rated as "Work Ready," scoring at the Bronze, Silver and Golf proficiency levels."

Governor Nikki Haley, a Bamberg native, stated in a press release, "I'm proud that my hometown of Bamberg has jumped to the forefront of this effort." Schwarting added to that when she said the success of the seniors was thanks to, "a good, solid foundation from kindergarten forward, emphasizing both academics and life skills throughout, and the nurturing that our students receive in a small school setting."

In other good news of testing, Schwarting also announced that 95.7% of the first time HSAP test takers passed the English and Language Arts test and 87.2% passed the Math portion.

The night of graduation was also mentioned during the meeting. Schwarting made note of all the seniors who received awards, and Tony Duncan a member of the board asked if a dynamic speaker had ever been a part of the graduation ceremony. Principal Randy Maxwell of BEHS stated in the past they had not, but he was open to having one. Rita Sease, Board Chair of BSD1 Board of Trustees, stated it should be considered and the person speaking should only speak for three to five minutes.

A discussion about the doors being locked the night of graduation also occurred. According to Maxwell, his instructions were to close the doors at 7pm. Maxwell stated, "I was advised after the graduation program was over, that there were a number of people that did not get in, because they arrived late. It is unfortunate what happened, and I do take full responsibility for it, because I'm the principal. We are reviewing all of our gradation policies to make sure this does not happen again."

Sease stated, "We are so sorry that those persons were not able to get in on time, but we are asking everyone to be timely with their entrances."

Blume wins National Award

Jerry E. Halmon, Sports Editor

Abigail Blume from Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School has won a National Athleadership Grant sponsored by NCSA Athletic Recruiting and the NFLPA. Receiving this prestigious award is an honor, one that is only given to a select number of student athletes throughout the country in all sports from football to track. The Athleadership Grant is awarded to student athletes who qualify based on leadership in their community, academic achievement, athletics and a required essay written by the student athlete. As a result of Abigail’s selection as the recipient of this Athleadership Grant, NCSA Athletic Recruiting will work with her and her family and assist her in finding a collegiate institution that best matches her academic and athletic achievements.

“Our passionate team of 300 former athletes will personally guide and educate Abigail throughout the entire recruiting process, giving her the tools that she needs to be successful in recruiting and in life.” said Chris Krause, CEO and founder of NCSA Athletic Recruiting. “Picking the right college is a life changing decision. It’s important for student-athletes to recognize that the choice of a college or university is not just a 4-year decision; it is a 40-year decision that will impact their professional future and personal success in life.”